Inside the Touch Pack for Windows 7: Lagoon

Microsoft Surface Lagoon logoThis afternoon, via ‘the blog’, Microsoft revealed the new Touch Pack for Windows 7 featuring six new touch-enabled applications (toys) to be installed on touch-supported hardware (at the OEM’s discretion of course). While all the toys are nice, the first to catch my eye was the photo-realistic fishy Microsoft Surface Lagoon screensaver. It features a photo realistic set of images put together to form a vivid 3D environment for the fishies to swim around and enjoy. Touching the display while the screensaver is going results in ripple formation – consistent with a finger being inserted in the water (i tested in my real aquarium) – and even draws the fish near while keeping your finger dry. Very nice!

[flv:http://static.withinwindows.com/files/uploads/flv/lagoon.flv 720 450]

On the technical side, Lagoon is an in-house XNA-powered application that utilizes GPU shader models 2 and 3 for the eye candy goodness, depending on availability and rendering performance. (This means your EeePC is out of the question.) While it supports custom backgrounds and variable amounts of fish, it does not support the creation of rich environments, placement of 3D objects, or feeding.